Book chronicles breadth and depth of impact through timeline and feature articles

New Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education book celebrates 20 years of impact on DOE's mission and national agenda

Feb. 4, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Touching the lives of more than 55,000 faculty and students, 1.5 million energy workers and countless others living in communities near 500 DOE sites in 42 states, the impact of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has been felt nationally and internationally. From its beginnings the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has helped DOE magnify its reach and focus its efforts on national mission and priorities.

The scope of this two-decade impact is now chronicled in a newly released, 147-page book, “Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education: Delivering Agile Missions solutions for DOE to Strengthen and Secure America,” that has been published by ORAU.

“As you read the report, you’ll see how the need for ORISE was apparent from the beginning,” said Andy Page, ORISE director and ORAU president and CEO. “This 20-year timeline provides evidence of how, as the world events and national priorities changed through time, DOE’s mission aligned with those needs, and ORISE provided an agile and integrated response to the agency and federal government.”

The book outlines numerous research experiences provided through federal research facilities and national laboratories for more than 55,000 faculty and students and touches on some of the significant accomplishments realized through this work. Readers also can learn more about how ORISE work has supported scientific peer review for more than $5 billion annually in potential research awards and provided high quality technical training for more than 40,000 DOE, contractor and grantee employees.

The report also encompasses information regarding the numerous health assessments and registries managed for more than 1.5 million energy workers, details on nuclear security support and training provided in more than 20 countries, and the decontamination verification efforts performed in 42 states.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Highlights of 20 years of beryllium testing for energy workers that began in 1992 with 7,429 current Y-12 workers surveyed for beryllium exposure, 3,000 of whom were identified for medical monitoring. Seven former Y-12 workers had already been diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease.
  • Support for DOE’s 30-year, $100 billion cleanup of its nuclear weapons production complex. Notable cleanup sites include East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Rocky Flats weapons production plant located near Denver, Colo., and the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington.
  • Development of a precedent-setting computer model to determine the maximum dose of a radionuclide that a patient can tolerate, thus eliminating some of the risks to other organs.
  • Preservation of lymphocytes from more than 2,000 Soviet workers involved in the cleanup of the Chernobyl nuclear site for future studies of chromosome damage caused by the workers’ exposure to radiation.
  • Coverage of some of the most comprehensive studies of how occupational exposure to low-level radiation and/or chemical toxicants affects employee health and mortality, including the largest-of-its-kind study recently initiated of more than one million workers. The population includes uranium and plutonium workers at DOE sites, nuclear weapons test workers, nuclear power plant workers and industrial radiographers, radiologists, and other medical practitioners.
  • Following 9/11, development and delivery of readily deployable capabilities to train and support first responders worldwide for environmental and nuclear emergencies such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and potential acts of terrorism.
  • Delivery of diverse and comprehensive capabilities for seamless support to DOE, other federal agency partners, and the U.S. and Japanese government in response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

“The activities highlighted are evidence of how, as national and international events unfolded and the U.S. government, DOE and other federal agencies responded, ORISE provided valuable and integrated support in a new of key areas,” said Page. “We hope this document will serve as a historical reference for future ORISE staff and DOE staff who will be creating the next 20 years of accomplishments and impacts.”

The “Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education: Delivering Agile Missions solutions for DOE to Strengthen and Secure America” is available as a free download. Printed copies are also available at $29.95 each. Those interested in a printed copy should email

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy institute focusing on scientific initiatives to research health risks from occupational hazards, assess environmental cleanup, respond to radiation medical emergencies, support national security and emergency preparedness, and educate the next generation of scientists. ORISE is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Director, Communications
Office: 865.576.3146
Phone: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Manager, Communications
Office: 865.576.0028
Phone: 865.207.7953

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a world-class DOE institute designed to strengthen a scientific workforce; promote the integrity of scientific research through peer review; provide 24/7 medical response to radiation accidents; evaluate human health data to protect workers from occupational hazards; and conduct independent environmental cleanup assessments.